So you know when you are a comic book geek when as you drive in your car and get cut off by some jerk, you imagine yourself as one of your favorite superheroes and taking the guy out. As it is with me, I always imagine myself as my favorite mutant Magneto. And as the car passes me, I use my powers to pick it up, flip it upside down and bounce it a few times before I send it hurling in the other direction. What? You know you would do it too! So since I have these delusions of grandeur it only comes naturally that I would be eager to play Marvel Ultimate Alliance.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance is the latest in a string of super hero games from Activision. You might remember them as the makers of the awesome Spiderman games, as well as the equally awesome X-Men Legends. Anyone who is played X-Men Legends or its sequel Rise of Apocalypse will be right at home with this game. Now the big difference is that this version that I am reviewing is for the new Nintendo Wii system. What’s that mean you say? Well for starters unless you have been living under a rock for the past year, you know that the Wii is controlled by the “Wii-mote” Which for the most part looks like a cross between your remote and a GameCube controller. So since this version of Marvel: UA has a unique way of controlling your favorite heroes I am going to start with how exactly that is done.
The nunchuk attachment is obviously used to control your heroes’ movements. The “Wii-mote” is used for attacks and special moves. If you are familiar with the X-Men Legends games then you know that besides the normal melee combat and grapple attacks, each hero has special moves that allow them to use their unique power. Now for the Wii you control the melee combat by either pressing the A button or shaking the Wii-remote side to side quickly. To use the hero’s special attacks you have six different gestures to make with the “Wii-mote” which are: Lower Gesture which is just lowering the remote down, Lift Gesture which is lifting it up, Swipe Gesture which is swiping the remote left or right, Thrust Gesture which is just thrusting the remote forward, and the above mentioned Shake Gesture.
Sounds confusing doesn’t it? Well once you get used to the controls it is really actually cool. I must admit that I had my reservations when putting this game into my Wii, but like I said it really worked when put all together. The problem you will happen to run into is that when you first start playing all the different motions seem over-whelming so while you are trying to figure out how to throw Captain America’s shield your AI teammates will have already cleared the screen of baddies. Fear not true believers, once you get the motions down you can clear a room with good ole Cap’ before your teammates can throw a punch.
As for the story of this game the main baddy this time around is Reed Richards old nemesis Dr. Victor Von Doom. At the outset we see Dr. Doom attacking the S.H.I.E.L.D. Heli-Carrier where of course that old war hound Nick Fury is in command. So after they trade witty remarks with each other Fury calls in some help, in the form of Wolverine, Captain America, Spider-Man, and Thor.
After playing a few levels you will be able to create your own teams. Initially you will have about 18 heroes to choose from which range from the Fantastic Four, and Spider-man, and a few of the X-Men to the more obscure heroes like Moon Knight, (If you know who Moon Knight is and who his main baddies are please email me and let me know) Luke Cage and Spider-Woman. As you progress you will unlock the likes of Silver Surfer, Daredevil, Blade and Ghost Rider. (By the way Ghost Rider the movie starring Nicholas Cage releases on Feb 16th I had the privilege of screening it, and just so you know it is not a bad movie-go check it out)
You will find out that Dr. Doom has put together a team of super-villains to put his diabolical plan into action, with the likes of Loki, Arcade, and even the great Galactus makes an appearance. Frankly I am upset that he had all these great villains and he did not approach Magneto!! That’s right X-Men fans Magneto is not in this game. I shed a tear when I found this out. Of course I don’t want to give away the whole story, but over the course of this game you will travel to a host of different marvel locations, from Castle Von Doom, to Dr. Stephen Strange’s apartment in New York you will even visit Mephisto’s realm. As you travel from place to place you can pick and choose your team just as you could in X-Men Legends. With sue a large cast of hero’s I am sure you can find one that suits your style of play best.
The graphics in this game are passable, they are not horrible but don’t go in with the mind set of seeing graphics like the 360 or PS3. In fact this game closes resembles PS2 graphics. The character models are somewhat blocky, you will find problems with the texture, and there are jagged edges around almost everything. That said a lot of the lighting effects look really good. The sound in the game is spot on with how you would imagine it. Some of the voice over work is kind of corny, but hey it’s a comic book game it should be over the top just a little bit right? But even with these issues the action is awesome, and that is really what you are playing this game for right??
Control and graphic issues aside this game is a must play for anyone who is a Marvel Comic book fan. Not only is the story engrossing, but the huge cast of characters is a comic book fans dream come true. Hopefully Activision will produce a sequel to wrap up the loose ends to this great game.